WUSTL Wind Ensemble Oct. 7

New director Chris Becker makes public debut

The Washington University Wind Ensemble, under the baton of new director Chris Becker, will perform at the 560 Music Center Oct. 7.

At the turn of the 20th century, Australian composer Percy Aldridge Grainger moved to London and developed a fascination with the rural music of the British Isles. The result was a series of 43 pieces, collectively titled British Folk Music Settings.

Perhaps the best known of these is Molly on the Shore, an arrangement of two traditional Irish reels, or dances, which Grainger wrote in 1907 as a birthday present for his mother.

Chris Becker

At 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 7, the Washington University Wind Ensemble will perform Molly on the Shore as part of a free concert in the 560 Music Center. The event marks the public debut of Chris Becker as conductor of the Wind Ensemble.

The program will open with Overture in Bb (1966), a spirited composition by Chicago composer Caeser Giovannini. Next, the ensemble will perform Morton Lauridsen’s 1994 setting of O Magnum Mysterium, as transcribed by H. Robert Reynolds. One of the most-performed works of the past 20 years, the piece recently was recognized by music publisher Theodore Presser Co. as the all-time best selling octavo in its history, dating back to 1783.

The program will continue with Molly on the Shore, which Grainger scored for band in 1920, followed by The Last Spring (1880), an elegiac work from Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg, Grainger’s friend and mentor, as transcribed by James Curnow.

Concluding the program will be Satiric Dances (For a Comedy by Aristophanes) (1975) by the American composer Norman Dello Joio.

The performance will take place in the E. Desmond Lee Concert Hall of the 560 Music Center, located in University City at 560 Trinity Ave., at the intersection with Delmar Boulevard.

For more information, call (314) 935-5566 or email daniels@wustl.edu.

Chris Becker

In addition to conducing the Wind Ensemble, Becker serves as conductor of the Washington University Jazz Band. He is a past president of the Missouri unit of the International Association of Jazz Educators and has taught instrumental music at all levels of Missouri public schools for more than 30 years.

Under Becker’s leadership, jazz bands from Parkway South, Parkway Central and Washington University have all performed for the Missouri Music Educators Annual Convention and have been recognized for outstanding performances at numerous jazz festivals.

Becker has served as jazz vice president for both the Missouri Music Educators Association and the St. Louis Suburban Music Educators Association. He is a member of the National Association for Music Education, the Missouri Association for Jazz Education and the Missouri Band Masters Association.

Becker plays trumpet professionally with a variety of ensembles in the St. Louis area.